Brazil pushes illegal miners out of Indigenous territory

Feb 8, 2023  ALTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) – Armed government officials with Brazil’s justice, Indigenous and environment agencies Wednesday began to press thousands of illegal gold miners out of Yanomami Indigenous territory citing widespread river contamination, famine and disease they have brought to one of the most isolated groups in the world.

People involved in illegal gold dredging streamed away from the territory on foot. The operation could take months. There are believed to be some 20,000 people engaged in the activity, often using toxic mercurty to separate the gold.
The authorities – the Brazilian environmental agency Ibama, with support from the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples and the National Public Security Force, found a helicopter, an airplane, a bulldozer, and makeshift lodges and hangars and destroyed them. Two guns and three boats with 5,000 liters (1,320 gallons) of fuel were also seized. They also discovered a helicopter hidden in the forest and set it ablaze.

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